The Internet is a wonderful place. You can read blogs, newspapers and magazines from all over the world. You can feed nostalgia and find replacements for items you’ve lost, like that old Fisher-Price “radio” that played “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘On My Head.” (I loved this thing, and I especially enjoyed bugging my brothers by singing along with it … really loud.)

And you can find just about any funny photo you can imagine of a cat. I’m not even kidding. This is the best part of the internet.

But you can also find division, misinformation, outright falsehood, crooks and other things that might make you want to give up your membership in the human race; we can be really horrible to each other.

Just last week, an old friend from high school blocked and deleted me from my friends on Facebook, saying I shamed the unvaccinated. Sadly, it was the anniversary of her mother’s death from covid-19 and her emotions were running high, so when I said I understood what she and her family had been through, it was apparently the water drop. She changed her privacy settings so that no one else could reply to the thread on my page (Facebook, really?), Sent me a not-so-nice direct message, and took off.

I would love to try to talk to her again; unfortunately I don’t think that will happen. But I think there are few people who no longer understand what she went through because a lot of us went through it too, or have dealt with friends and family who went through it. , experienced it as a front-line medical worker, or spoke about it as a journalist, scientist or information officer. That doesn’t make his feelings less valid, but puts them against the backdrop of a pandemic that has killed more than 620,000 people in the United States and nearly 4.4 million worldwide.

If I remember correctly, my friend’s mother and father and several other family members were hospitalized for covid last year with her mother dying. His father, who has dementia, was in a coma and has not heard of his wife’s death for some time. I wish I could say it was unusual, but this pandemic and the hostile response by some to measures to protect people has made it more common than anyone would like.

The little children were left without parents. Entire families have died. This meant that some loved ones turned around and begged others to get the shot before it was too late. Others, however, have sunk in.

And where do they go when they are in such a state of anger? The Internet, where anyone with a grinding ax can find someone to focus all their rage on, as well as all the disinformation that can confirm their prejudices.

I can understand that, in a way. We all want something to comfort us, especially when we feel abused or out of control. Many of my vaccinated comrades have felt grief, disbelief, resignation and anger, sometimes all at the same time. We have acted responsibly by vaccinating and following pandemic protocols, so when we are told that we live in fear, signals of virtue and blame from victims, it puts us under the skin, especially when our pleas collide. to bogus talking points. and insults.

We are Aesop’s ants who acted responsibly by storing food for the winter while the grasshopper played on days away and had to beg the ants for food. Except this grasshopper doesn’t just want to be rewarded for its lack of action; he wants to salt the earth so that nothing else grows.

Cuddling, bribes, facts … nothing works because we have a group of people who reassure each other and every scientist, doctor, etc., begging them to take common sense precautions and get vaccinated is an agent of an infamous plan to deprive everyone of their freedom, even their life. Between Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and the endless memes that are blunt and quite often wrong, it’s not hard to see how people can be sucked into a pit with no escape.

Except there is a loophole. This is called the on / off key.

We have smartphones, computers, tablets, watches, etc., which can keep us connected to the internet at all times. But who said we have to be, especially when what we consume is sure to get on our nerves, usually for no good reason? We don’t always have to be connected. Shut down your computer (or update your operating system if you haven’t done so in a while, this will force you to shut down for at least a little while) and put your other tech away.

A little time in the garden or in the park (but not in August) will do you more good than clicking on another site that tells you that vaccines are just the first step towards total world domination by libs, libs. scientists, the Rothschilds, alien reptiles or whoever is the scapegoat this week.

Relax. To breathe. Try to figure out what that gray, hairy thing in the fridge was like.

Maybe sing an old song from your childhood. This is the ticket.

Then once you get back to the internet hopefully you are calmer and less inclined to take it all as an insult. Crossed fingers.

Associate Editor Brenda Looper is the editor of the Voices page. Read his blog at Email him at [email protected]

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